Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DELICACIES, by WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS



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THE DELICACIES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The hostess, in pink satin and blond hair -- dressed high -- shone beautifully
Last Line: Cream cheese and whole walnuts!
Subject(s): Food & Eating; Parties


The hostess, in pink satin and blond hair -- dressed high -- shone beautifully
in her white slippers against the great silent bald head of her little-eyed
husband!
Raising a glass of yellow Rhine wine in the narrow space just beyond the light-
varnished woodwork and the decorative column between dining-room and hall, she
smiled the smile of water tumbling from one ledge to another.

We began with a herring salad: delicately flavored saltiness in scallops of
lettuce-leaves.

The little owl-eyed and thick-set lady with masses of grey hair has smooth pink
cheeks without a wrinkle. She cannot be the daughter of the little red-faced
fellow dancing about inviting lion-headed Wolff the druggist to play the piano!
But she is. Wolff is a terrific smoker: if the telephone goes off at night --
so his curled-haired wife whispers -- he rises from bed but cannot answer till
he has lighted a cigarette.

Sherry wine in little conical glasses, dull brownish yellow, and tomatoes
stuffed with finely cut chicken and mayonnaise!

The tall Irishman in a Prince Albert and the usual striped trousers is going to
sing for us. (The piano is in a little alcove with dark curtains.) The
hostess's sister -- ten years younger than she -- in black net and velvet, has
hair like some filmy haystack, cloudy about the eyes. She will play for her
husband.

My wife is young, yes she is young and pretty when she cares to be -- when she
is interested in a discussion: it is the little dancing mayor's wife telling
her of the Day Nursery in East Rutherford, 'cross the track, divided from us by
the railroad -- and disputes as to precedence. It is in this town the saloon
flourishes, the saloon of my friend on the right whose wife has twice offended
with chance words. Her English is atrocious! It is in this town that the saloon
is situated, close to the railroad track, close as may be, this side being dry,
dry, dry: two people listening on opposite sides of a wall! -- The Day Nursery
had sixty-five babies the week before last, so my wife's eyes shine and her
cheeks are pink and I cannot see a blemish.

Ice-cream in the shape of flowers and domestic objects: a pipe for me since I
do not smoke, a doll for you.

The figure of some great bulk of a woman disappearing into the kitchen with a
quick look over the shoulder. My friend on the left who has spent the whole day
in a car the like of which some old fellow would give to an actress: flower-
holders, mirrors, curtains, plush seats -- my friend on the left who is chairman
of the Streets committee of the town council -- and who has spent the whole day
studying automobile fire-engines in neighboring towns in view of purchase, -- my
friend, at the Elks last week at the breaking-up hymn, signalled for them to let
Bill -- a familiar friend of the saloon-keeper -- sing out all alone to the
organ -- and he did sing!

Salz-rolls, exquisite! and Rhine wine ad libitum. A masterly caviar
sandwich.

The children flitting about above stairs. The councilman has just bought a
National eight -- some car!

For heaven's sake I mustn't forget the halves of green peppers stuffed with
cream cheese and whole walnuts!





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